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updated: 4/28/2017 10:30 PM

Geneva science teacher named Kane County's top educator

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  • Kane County Educator of the Year Matt Gain gets a giant hug from his wife, Kerry. Gain, who teaches at Geneva Middle School South in District 304, took top honors Friday night at the Q Center in St. Charles.

    Kane County Educator of the Year Matt Gain gets a giant hug from his wife, Kerry. Gain, who teaches at Geneva Middle School South in District 304, took top honors Friday night at the Q Center in St. Charles.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Kane County Educator of the Year Matt Gain stands up with his wife Kerry after being announced as the winner. Gain, who teaches science at Geneva Middle School South in District 304, took top honors Friday night at the Q Center in St. Charles.

    Kane County Educator of the Year Matt Gain stands up with his wife Kerry after being announced as the winner. Gain, who teaches science at Geneva Middle School South in District 304, took top honors Friday night at the Q Center in St. Charles.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Kane County Educator of the Year Matt Gain, who teaches science at Geneva Middle School South in District 304, took top honors Friday night at the Q Center in St. Charles.

    Kane County Educator of the Year Matt Gain, who teaches science at Geneva Middle School South in District 304, took top honors Friday night at the Q Center in St. Charles.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Matt Gain, who teaches chemistry and physics at Geneva Middle School South, was named the top Kane County Educator of the Year Friday.

    Matt Gain, who teaches chemistry and physics at Geneva Middle School South, was named the top Kane County Educator of the Year Friday.
    Courtesy of Kane County Regional Office of Education

  • Alice Froemling, English and language arts teacher at St. Charles North High School, is one of two recipients of the Kane County Regional Office of Education's Regional Superintendent Award.

    Alice Froemling, English and language arts teacher at St. Charles North High School, is one of two recipients of the Kane County Regional Office of Education's Regional Superintendent Award.
    Courtesy of Kane County Regional Office of Education

  • Cindy Miller, physical education and health teacher at Kaneland High School in Maple Park, is one of two recipients of the Kane County Regional Office of Education's Regional Superintendent Award.

    Cindy Miller, physical education and health teacher at Kaneland High School in Maple Park, is one of two recipients of the Kane County Regional Office of Education's Regional Superintendent Award.
    Courtesy of Kane County Regional Office of Education

  • Angellica Ahng, a seventh-grade science teacher at Cowherd Middle School in Aurora is the Kane County Early Career Educator of the Year award recipient.

    Angellica Ahng, a seventh-grade science teacher at Cowherd Middle School in Aurora is the Kane County Early Career Educator of the Year award recipient.
    Courtesy of Kane County Regional Office of Education

  • Ivonne Serrano, early childhood educator at O'Donnell Elementary School in Aurora is the Kane County Preschool Teacher of the Year.

    Ivonne Serrano, early childhood educator at O'Donnell Elementary School in Aurora is the Kane County Preschool Teacher of the Year.
    Courtesy of Kane County Regional Office of Education

  • Mary Jensen, music teacher at Alice Gustafson Elementary School in Batavia, is the Elementary School Teacher of the Year.

    Mary Jensen, music teacher at Alice Gustafson Elementary School in Batavia, is the Elementary School Teacher of the Year.
    Courtesy of Kane County Regional Office of Education

  • Amy O'Herron, sixth-grade math teacher at Carpentersville Middle School is Kane County's Middle School Teacher of the Year.

    Amy O'Herron, sixth-grade math teacher at Carpentersville Middle School is Kane County's Middle School Teacher of the Year.
    Courtesy of Kane County Regional Office of Education

  • Mike Schmidt, social studies teacher at Burlington Central High School is the Kane County High School Teacher of the Year.

    Mike Schmidt, social studies teacher at Burlington Central High School is the Kane County High School Teacher of the Year.
    Courtesy of Kane County Regional Office of Education

  • Suzanne Johnson, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning for Elgin Area School District U-46 was named Kane County's School Administrator of the Year.

    Suzanne Johnson, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning for Elgin Area School District U-46 was named Kane County's School Administrator of the Year.
    Courtesy of Kane County Regional Office of Education

  • Debra Brannon, administrative assistant at St. Charles North High School received the Kane County Educational Service Personnel Award Friday.

    Debra Brannon, administrative assistant at St. Charles North High School received the Kane County Educational Service Personnel Award Friday.
    Courtesy of Kane County Regional Office of Education

  • Bruce Fraser, library information specialist at West Aurora High School, won the Kane County Student Support Personnel of the Year Award Friday.

    Bruce Fraser, library information specialist at West Aurora High School, won the Kane County Student Support Personnel of the Year Award Friday.
    Courtesy of Kane County Regional Office of Education

 
 

Matt Gain discovered his love of science at an early age by tinkering with anything he could get his hands on, taking apart the telephone or stereo when his parents were out.

Gain, who has taught chemistry and physics at Geneva Middle School South for 16 years, hopes to inspire that same fascination for science by incorporating storytelling and characters into his lessons to make them interesting and memorable. He was named the top Kane County Educator of the Year on Friday.

"We stand on the shoulders of great people in our past, past teachers, our family, current teachers and students they all make us who we are," Gain said in his acceptance speech.

"What drove me to teaching versus working in a lab was the interactions with students," he said. "It's not that I'm just there to give them information. It's also that there is a deeper relationship that happens too that makes each day different and exciting."

The Kane County Regional Office of Education honored 44 outstanding educators Friday at the 42nd annual Educator of the Year awards ceremony Friday in St. Charles.

Gain will receive a $3,000 grant from the regional office for use in his classroom or toward further education. He also will get a personalized director's chair, an engraved Bulova clock and $200 from the Kane County Credit Union.

Awards also were presented to finalists in the categories of top early career; preschool, elementary, middle school and high school educators; school administrator; student support personnel; and educational service personnel.

The 2017 award recipients are:

• Regional superintendent: Alice Froemling, English and language arts, St. Charles North High School, District 303; Cindy Miller, physical education and health, Kaneland High School, Maple Park, District 302

• Early career educator: Angellica Ahng, seventh-grade science, Cowherd Middle School, Aurora, District 131

• Preschool teacher: Ivonne Serrano, early childhood, O'Donnell Elementary School, Aurora, District 131

• Elementary teacher: Mary Jensen, music, Alice Gustafson Elementary School, Batavia, District 101

• Middle school teacher: Amy O'Herron, sixth-grade math, Carpentersville Middle School, District 300

• High school teacher: Mike Schmidt, social studies, Burlington Central High School, District 301

• School administrator: Suzanne Johnson, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, Elgin Area School District U-46

• Educational service: Debra Brannon, administrative assistant, St. Charles North High School, District 303

• Student support: Bruce Fraser, library information specialist, West Aurora High School, District 129

This year's nominees were the largest contingent in the awards' history. All nominees received an engraved plaque.

Last year's Kane County Educator of the Year was Holly Yee, a seventh-grade science teacher at Ellis Middle School in Elgin, who was among 29 educators honored in 2016.

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